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POST TIME: 6 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Ec launches scheme to register Bangladeshis in Malaysia as voters
Staff Reporter, Dhaka

Ec launches scheme to register Bangladeshis in Malaysia as voters

Bangladeshi expatriates in Malaysia are going to be registered as voters as the Election Commission (EC) launched a programme in this regard yesterday. The programme was launched through a joint video conference by the state minister for expatriate welfare and overseas employment, Imran Ahmed, in Malaysia and the chief election commissioner (CEC), KM Nurul Huda, at Election Bhaban in Dhaka.

The eligible voters can now apply online through the website sevices.nidw.gov.bd. The expatriates who want to be registered as voters would require six documents—photocopy of the passport, certified copy of dual citizen or permission letter from the home ministry, passport copy of another person who would identify the eligible voter, an affidavit of a relative living in Bangladesh with name, mobile number, and NID number, written letter mentioning that the eligible voter has not been a voter earlier and a certificate from the embassy or high commission concerned.

Imran Ahmed said: “It’s the right of voters to cast votes. I hope the EC would make arrangements so that every expatriate can vote in all elections.” He also urged the Bangladeshi high commissioner to Malaysia and the EC to assist the expatriates to get NID cards. On his part, the CEC said: “It’s a historic day for all as expatriates are going to get NID cards.” Huda said the process of registering as voters is easy. “You (expatriates) should properly fill the form on the website. If there is any mistake, it would not be acceptable,” he added.

He also warned expatriates against falling into the trap of touts to obtain NID cards and not to give money to anybody for this purpose. “Try to fill the online form by yourself, and if necessary, take help of someone reliable,” he added.

Among others, election commissioners Mahbub Talukder, Md Rafiqul Isalm, Begum Kabita Khanam, and Brig. Gen. (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury, NID director Brig. Gen. Mohammad Sidul Islam and EC secretary Md Alamgir were present during the video conferencing. On the other hand, the Bangladeshi high commissioner to Malaysia, Shahidul Islam, and the expatriate ministry secretary, Selim Reza, were among those present in Malaysia on the occasion.

In his presentation, the high commissioner said information about the voters would be collected and then verified through the upazila election offices where the expatriates originated. Once it is verified, a team would go to Malaysia and collect fingerprints, iris impressions, and photos from the high commission in Malaysia. Later, smart cards would be printed for delivery.

After the success in Malaysia, Bangladeshi expatriates in the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Maldives, and Singapore will get the chance to register as voters.

According to the EC, there are around 90 lakh eligible voters living in different parts of the world. It was a longstanding demand to issue NID cards for expatriate Bangladeshis so that they can vote during parliamentary elections.

The EC said as these people send their hard-earned money to Bangladesh to help run the wheels of the country’s economy and so they have every right to elect their representatives to parliament.

The commission started issuing NID cards with photos in 2008. At that time, two election commissioners had traveled abroad to conduct a feasibility study with the hope of providing NID cards for expatriate Bangladeshis. In 2010, the related laws were amended to make Bangladeshi expatriates voters.